Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A new phase...

Does this face look like it's capable of doing something mischievous?

Yes, you say?  Well, you're probably right.  Especially in light of yesterday's exploits.

I have a nutcracker sitting on our fireplace mantel  from when I saw the ballet as a little girl.  Wardie, of course, loves it since it's breakable and up too high for him to reach.  Shocking.  He calls him "man" and loves to hold and play with him.  (I'm not too worried as it's already been well-loved throughout the years, but it is still special to me).

So, yesterday I came home from work to my wonderful husband and Wardie, who had been spending the day together.  Wardie asked for the "man" and curiously, he was nowhere to be found.  Hubby thought he had been put somewhere special, but clearly, that was not the case.  So, "man" was missing.

Finally, Wardie ran to the stairs and said, "up."  He then proceeded to climb the stairs and run into our closet up under the eaves of the house.  About 10 seconds later, he emerged and triumphantly exclaimed, "man!"  Sigh. 

Luckily, it was so cute, that all I did was explain to him that the "man" belongs on the fireplace, to which he responded, "yeeeahh."

I thought maybe we were going to miss the hiding things/sticking them down the toilet/putting them up the nose phase, but I think I might be wrong:)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm not apologizing.

Well, that's partially true.  I'll apologize if I do something wrong or if I offend someone of if I hurt somebody. 

But, I'm tired of being made to feel bad for who I am.

Like everyone else, I'm a complicated human being.  A mixed bag.  When I try and describe myself, I find that I am passionate, happy, tired, angry, loving, excited, wondering, child-like, mature, quick-witted, a slow learner.  I believe in relaxation, but that idle hands are indeed the devil's workshop.  I believe in cooking dinner and ordering a pizza when you're tired.  I believe in a strong family and supportive friends.  I believe that issues should be addressed in a kind manner.  I believe humor can solve many problems.  I believe in technology and in candles.  I believe in helping others to get started, but working to do the best you can to stay on your own two feet. 

And a number of other things, I'm sure.

I think sometimes that people who have a voice and an opinion can get a bad rap.  And, not to play the gender card, but especially when those people happen to be female.  And, I'm sort of tired of it.

1.  I will not apologize for wanting to spend time with my family.  I'm done feeling bad because I can't attend your kid's birthday party, office gatherings whatever else in the evenings/on weekends.  My priority when I'm not at work (and sometimes, when I am at work) is my family.  It's the reason why I work at all.  Period.

2.  I will not apologize for having opinions.  I am a human being and not a doormat.  I hold my tongue when necessary, but would prefer to share my thoughts.  I believe it's healthy.  I also process externally, and find that talking through things is helpful to me.  If you'd rather not talk with me, that's your choice.

3.  I will not apologize for caring too much.  It's who I am and what I do.  Little things bug me.  Big things bug me.  When things aren't right in the world, I like to fix them.  I've learned how to focus on the things that are most important, but I do care.

4.  I will not apologize for not being apathetic.  I NEVER want to become a person who says, "Well, I've learned that I can't worry about everything" or "Well, it's like this everywhere."  SO WHAT!!???  Just because this is the way it is or the way we've always done it, does not necessarily make it right or good.  I am realistic that everything can't be changed, but that does not remove my choices.  I can choose not to accept it.  I can choose not to like it.  And, I can even choose not to be a part of it.  I hope that I never waste even one moment on a person/job/activity that I find unacceptable without trying to change it.  Having serenity does not mean becoming apathetic!!

I have many friends who seem to have this amazing capability to forge ahead without worrying about what others think of them.  It's a quality I admire because it's not one I possess--but I'm working on it.  I am so thankful to have a husband and close friends and family who truly love me as I am, without any apologies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Falafel Pita

Ok, another delicious recipe that Wardie loves!  I also love it because it's healthy, cheap and easy--the trifecta:)  I found it in an old issue of Parenting magazine and tweaked it a bit.

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (found in the aisle with the dried beans)
1/2 onion, chopped (it calls for a whole one, but I think that's too much)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cumin (I added a bit more of this--it's the crucial flavor)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (can be a bit spicy for little ones, not necessary)

Olive oil
Pita pockets (I use wheat ones, which were delicious!)
Cherry tomatoes, sliced
Lettuce leaves, torn
Plain Greek Yogurt
Mint, chopped

Get some water boiling in a large pot.  Add a little salt and then the chickpeas.  The recipe says to cook these for 10 minutes, or until slightly softened, but I think you need to do this way longer.  I recommend about 20 minutes or so.  You don't want the centers too hard, and they were the first time I made them which made the texture sort of weird.  Once they're done, drain them and let them cool a bit.  Or, cheat and run cold water over them like I do.

Get out your huge food processor that you probably have to drag out from the basement or some hidden cupboard and clean out because you use it twice a year.  Toss in the chickpeas, onion, garlic and parsley.  You want this pretty well pureed.

Then, pour the whole thing in a bowl and mix in the baking powder, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes.  I also read that adding a bit of flour would help the whole thing stick together.  I have no idea how much--I'd guess a tablespoon or two would be good.  The recipe says to then refrigerate the mixture for an hour.  I don't do this.  Maybe I should.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet on medium.  Take the mixture and form patties by hand and once the oil is hot, add the patties to the pan.  Fry them for a few minutes and turn them over and do the same thing.  Like a hamburger, minus the meat.

And, finally, take your pita pocket and add a patty, lettuce, tomatoes, greek yogurt and a little mint and enjoy!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

In my room.

Things that I found on the floor of my bedroom tonight:
  • Plastic golf club
  • Kid potty
  • Baby doll
  • Discarded footy pajamas
  • Leap pad
  • Tiny socks

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A little space for me:)

I'm a procrastinator.  (Insert collective 'gasp' here...)  Ok, I know this is a well-known fact to anyone who knows me, but I have a VERY hard time doing little bits of projects to keep up on things.  For example, I can't fold clothes bit by bit, but would rather fold a week's worth of laundry in an evening.  Same with groceries.  Or cleaning.

But, I'm worst with papers.  I've had this little room under an eave in our house that I've been dying to turn into a crafty space for quite some time now.  Bryan has all of his "toys" in the basement now, and that space has just been sitting there for me.  And sitting.  And sitting.

For some people, this isn't an issue.  But with my weird brain and it's lack of normal functioning, I couldn't let myself do ANY little projects until this room was ready.  And yet, I couldn't bring myself to get through this entire room at once because it was such a big job.

So, finally, last Saturday night, I got through it all.  (With some help from Bryan, of course).  I had to actually throw away some of our wedding and baby shower cards and really determine which projects will actually get done (we'll save my hoarding issues for another post), but I managed to do it.  And, 3 1/2 hours later, it looks awesome, if I do say so myself.  Which I do.

My little hideaway!

Was given this table from my mom-in-law and we've had these shelves forever.

Lovely close-up of the yarn.

You may ignore that this part is still a little messy.  Because I do.  Underneath are all of my photos, stamping, etc.  And, yes, that tv does have a vcr.  Other fun note: this table was actually the first kitchen table my parents had and it's still going strong:)

L-shaped desk also from my mom-in-law (how lucky am I!?)  TONS of storage!!

Side of the desk--storing baskets, frames, etc. underneath.

Love this one.

Bought 1 large sheet of peg board from Home Depot and asked them to cut it into 2'x2' squares.  Bryan hung them for me (after I measured:) and I painted them with some leftover bathroom paint.  Turned out great--cheap and easy.

Close-up of the peg board with the ribbons:)

And, there you have it.  Funny note--Bryan knows WAY more about photography than I do, so he said he's help me take some nice pictures (the close-ups are his).  I went in the room and found him lying on the floor taking pictures at an angle.  Now, that's dedication!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rhubarb Custard Pie

I love rhubarb.  Especially when paired with sugar:)

This recipe is from an old Ohio State Grange cookbook and is as close as we've come so far to the one Bryan's grandma Mary used to make.

1 c sugar
1 T butter, softened
2 T flour
2 eggs, separated
1 c milk
1 c cooked rhubarb (I cut fresh rhubarb in chunks and boil in a pan of water until very soft)
(I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and just a hint of cloves to mine and really liked the flavor)

Cream sugar and butter. Add flour and egg yolks, mix thoroughly. Add milk, rhubarb and lastly fold in beaten egg whites. Line glass pie dish with pastry, pour in above mixture.

Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 F for 10-15 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and crust comes out clean.



Baked Kale Chips

Ok, I know these don't sound delicious.  Or kid-friendly.  But, why would I post it if they weren't?  I promise that if you eat these when they're still warm they are delicious.  And easy.  And kid-friendly.  I found this recipe in Kiwi magazine and tried it out multiple times this summer.  Big hit!  It's become my summer addiction once the kale is ready in the garden...yum!

Here's what you need:

Fresh kale stalks
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Take out a cookie sheet with a lip around the edge.  Tear off the kale leaves from the stalk and spread them out on the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and use some tongs to turn them over, making sure both sides are coated.  I find it best to err on the side of not enough oil and then add a bit more rather than having too much on the pan.  Sprinkle kosher salt over the top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the leaves are crisp.  (Ok, the smell isn't amazing, but you have to trust me here!)

Enjoy still warm for the best results.

Sleeping through the night

Thankfully, we have resolved most of our "kid sleeping" issues.

We put Wardie down for a nap and typically, about 5 minutes later, he's out cold. (Except for that one time last week when he was doing laps in his crib and giggling. But, that was a fluke, I think.)

At night, we have a routine of songs and milk in a sippy cup and a binky (yes, I know he's getting a bit old for it) and he goes to bed. And he sleeps. Hard.

I think a few things have contributed to this.

1. We REALLY try to tire him out during the day. Outside play is a MUST and he needs space to run. And run. And run.

2. We have a consistent bedtime routine. Typically dinner, play, bath, more quiet play, binky, milk and songs, bed.

3. (The real key). We stopped listening to everyone else's advice about sleep a long time ago and decided to do what works for our family.

Usually Ward sleeps through the night (about 8:30pm to 7:00am) in his own bed. Except when he doesn't. About every 2 weeks, he ends up in bed with us in the middle of the night for some reason or another. Maybe he had a nightmare. Or he's getting a tooth. Or he just won't go back to sleep in his crib.

We figured out early on that we are not a "cry it out" family. I just can't do it. And Bryan thinks he can, but he can't do it either. And, clearly, Ward doesn't want that. So, we're flexible. When he needs us, he snuggles up in between us and we all love sleeping together. Except when he kicks me and I turn over. Or he pushes Bryan up so close to the wall that he can't sleep at all. But, generally, we just love that snuggly time and wouldn't trade it for anything. But, we also love the nights when he sleeps in his own bed. ALL night. It works for our family.

I have lunch with a great group of moms with young kids at work every month or so. One of the best things I learn from them on a regular basis is that all moms want the same general things for their children: love, happiness, health, good overall behavior, etc. But, each of us travels the road to those ends in such different ways. I love talking about what works for us because it takes away so much guilt and also helps me not to judge other moms.

I'm learning, slowly but surely, to make decisions on what works for us and to enjoy our family.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Too Deep

Ok, so I think we've all determined that I'm officially not going to be on any type of schedule when posting here...sigh...

I was listening to my Pandora at work today when a Sum 41 song came on: In Too Deep. Now, I'm not traditionally a huge fan, but this song is so upbeat, even though it talks about sort of a depressing subject...

'Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep
Up above in my head, instead of going under

Maybe we're just trying too hard
When really it's closer than it is too far'

I really love it when a song comes on that finds me where I am right now...

Some people call it mommy guilt and others would identify my issues stemming from my perfectionist tendencies, but as a whole, I hate being an underachiever. And, if you really want to see me lose it, find me when I'm feeling that way in all aspects of my life all at once.

Now, don't get me wrong--I LOVE my life. Not just like, really LOVE. But I have those moments when I feel like nothing is being done really well and I'm just sort of operating on half a tank with everything. Not enough time at home with Wardie, not enough time with my husband, no time for continuing education for me, not enough time at work to keep up with the demand, not enough time hanging out with co-workers to develop relationships, not enough time for relaxing, not enough time for cleaning and house upkeep, not enough time for others, not enough time for myself...

Clearly, the contstant here is "not enough time." Does this ever change? Do we ever feel like we have "enough" time? Some people would say that I'm just trying to do too much at once and need to relax. Perhaps. But, when I think about life and what I want to get out of being alive in the world, I want to look back in 30 years and remember all of the things that have happened in my life--I want to do so much that my life feels full or even overfull. After all, who wants to look back and remember the times I was resting...boring!

So, maybe it's just about paring down--working to make sure that I get so much out of life, but that those things include playing in the leaves with Wardie or watching a movie with Bryan or taking a class I'm interested in just because I'm interested in it. Maybe it is about doing as much as possible, but making sure each of those things aren't being done to please others, but because they are meaningful to me and pleasing to God. Maybe if I can line my life up with those principles, I'll stop being overwhelmed and just feel pleasantly tired at the end of each day and, hopefully, at the end of life.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cute Kid Stuff

Ok. I'll try and keep these types of posts to a minimum, especially for those of you without children who don't appreciate hearing cute kid stories all that often...sort of like I am with dogs. I don't really think dogs are cute. Some puppies, maybe. But, overall, I don't like your dog and I really don't want to hear about the stories that include the adorable things he does.

But, back to the topic. One thing I've learned as a parent is to never say "never" about behavioral topics. You can say that you'll never let your child jump off a cliff, but don't say you'll never say the things your parents said. Because at some point in the future when your child pushes that button of yours just one more time and you are tired and annoyed and frustrated and wondering where he possibly learned this particular ridiculous behavior, you will say that dreaded phrase.

Now, my wonderful son is honestly one of the greatest joys of my life. And, luckily, at only 17 months, he still is so sweet and innocent that 99% of the time, that joy overshadows any irritation. However, that 1% can really get ya.

Yesterday, I had an exhausted little boy who was very much in need of a nap and a diaper change. Another thing I've learned about being a parent is that little boys very much enjoy playing with their nether regions while you try and change their diaper--normally, this really doesn't both me, but it can be a little unhygenic. So, as I'm trying to change his diaper, after wrestling him just to get his pants off, I end up loudly using the phrase, "Now, cut it out and get your binky out of your crotch!" One for the parenting book, for sure.

He's also into helping mommy with everything. Today, he used his own little broom and vacuum because the big ones were out and also sat on the counter putting vegetables into a bowl as I cut them. Of course, I did catch him tasting some and trying to put them back, but overall, it went really well. I have found that including him in the tasks I'm doing rather than trying to get him to go do his own thing has really helped his mood, and I love that he's learning something in the process. It also keeps me from making ridiculous comments out of frustration:)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Roads

I was watching an episode of "Who's the Boss?" (remember, old 80's/90's sitcom?) while crocheting last night (yes, I am that big of a dork) and it actually got me thinking about how one choice in life can completely change our path in such amazing and surprising ways.

The turning point, the tipping point, a fork in the road, stuck between a rock and a hard place, crisis, an ethical dilemma. We all have them. But, have you ever really stopped to think about those choices and all they lead to?

Movies like the Butterfly Effect and The Family Man have been made to explore the notion of how looking at the past and making changes would affect the present and/or future. Robert Frost's famous poem, The Road Not Taken, really addresses that key moment when you make the decision of which path to follow. I read a sci-fi short story once about a man who returned to prehistoric times in a time machine, but he stepped off the path and crushed one bug and it totally altered the course of the future for all life on earth. (Of course, this did require some willing suspension of disbelief as to how the time machine itself landing would not have altered the course...)

My point is, I think it's important/fascinating/overwhelming to think about all of the decisions we make in life and where they lead us. From the mundane decisions of taking a trip somewhere or what restaurant to eat at to the important decisions of where to live, what job to take, what major to pursue, etc. And, not only are we making decisions for ourselves, but for many of us, for our children. Freaking out during a storm could create in them a lifelong fear and introducing them to healthy foods may alter the course of their health as an adult.

And the most scary part of all--SO many times, we can't even predict the outcome of our decisions! I mean, I know that if I choose to take a nap instead of cleaning the house, the house remains dirty. Simple. But, what happens when it's not so cut and dried? What happens, for example, when choice #1 leads to A, B and sometimes C and choice #2 leads to C, D and sometimes B...I mean, this is a convuluded mess! How are we supposed to have enough foresight to make the right call? How do we not become so overwhelmed that we're actually incapable of making decisions? And, maybe more importantly, how control freaks like myself supposed to keep from hyperventilating with the weight of it all?

Thank goodness we have an omniscient, omni-benevolent being to share the load. And, if we're truly as trusting as we should be, to carry the entire weight. I have a hard time believing that God has chosen each of our decisions for us--where is the free will in that? (And, I don't know about you, but I rarely hear the voice of God when I'm debating over what to wear in the mornings.) But, I do believe he has an ideal path for our lives. I see it sort of like bumper bowling. He provides the bumpers for our life, and with prayer and an open mind and heart, we can do our best to stay in our lane. And, in staying relatively true to this pre-determined path, hopefully we can trust God and ourselves to keep moving. Now, if I could just decide what to have for lunch...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Already lagging behind...

Ok. I know. I said I was going to keep up my end of the bargain and I've already fallen off the wagon. But, I'm back on, I swear...maybe there's some sort of Bloggers Anonymous that I can go to for some accountability...but, I digress.

I thought one of the first things I should do was to explain the title for my blog which comes from a great song by one of my very favorite singer/songwriters--Bob Dylan.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of change shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

I chose this title because I think it's a pretty comprehensive view of what I think life is all about. I certainly fall short at times, but this is what I try to live and what I hope to give to Wardie as he grows older. I'm sure we'll have our share of trials and tribulations with him, but if we can instill these basic values, I think he'll turn out ok:)

Friday, June 11, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog...

I've been thinking about blogging for a long time. I do have lots of random thoughts that go through my head and as someone who's constantly processing, sometimes I need a venue to share those thoughts--especially when my main daily interactions consist of talking in third-person to my one-year-old son:)

But, there are rules to blogging. I mean, nobody wants to read a couple of wonderful posts only to have the blogee (is that a word?) find a million other things to do and slowly stop blogging altogether. No, bloggers have a responsibility to keep going not only for their own sanity, but to continually entertain/inform/provoke everyone else. So, I will attempt to hold up my end of the bargain as long as you hold up yours--blogs are merely diaries without someone to read them. I hope you'll follow along and be a part of this shared experience.